Soothing Solution: Lighten Up
Why it works for your kid: Singing a silly sing, talking in a wacky accent, or pretending you're Cinderella's wicked stepmother is the parental equivalent of cracking a joke in a tense meeting at work: It reminds everyone that the situation isn't nearly as dire as it seems. "Doing something like singing shifts the area of your child's brain that's functioning, and that can actually calm her," Mary Sheedy Kurcinka says. "It breaks the tension."
Why it works for you: Getting a little silly forces you to ditch your angry face. "One way I interrupt meltdowns is by turning on some goofy kid songs, like John Lithgow's Singin' in the Bathtub CD, and dancing a silly dance," says Vicci Radake, of Fenton, Missouri, the mother of an 11-month-old. She has also tried the technique with her daycare kids. "It gives me a burst of energy and gets the kids to forget what they were even crying about."